I went out shooting some generic country estate images today and used the Fuji XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR Fujinon zoom lens on my X-Pro 1. It performed really well on a camera that when it was introduced, may not have expected to have this kind of lens fitted to it. The 16-55mm is such good quality that it does work very well as a general outdoor landscape / location lens. While the 18-135mm is certainly a more versatile option and for me at least a much more manageable option than a 16-55mm + 55-140mm f/2.8 combination for example, which is unnecessarily heavy and large for work in good light.
However, that isn't to say that the 16-55mm can't be used for this and it certainly delivers quality results. Again I was pleased to see that the lens focused quickly and accurately, even on the somewhat ageing X-Pro 1. That camera is pretty chunky anyway and the camera / lens combination felt well balanced. I suspect many, if not most, may think the X-T1 is a more suitable camera for a lens such as this, but I did in fact find it very comfortable and quick and easy to use. I was hoping to have sold the X-Pro 1 by now, but it seems ebayers aren't prepared to pay what I want for a mint and little used camera.
This is of course often the case with my plans to sell such and such, since I'm not prepared to accept less than what my gear is worth just to get it out the door and often I end up keeping it if I don't get what I want. I am after all pretty much 'tidying up' my camera shelf. I have relisted the camera, but if it doesn't sell again then I may well end up keeping it. I've always liked the chunky, rectangular, 'lookaleica' feel anyway, especially with the PhotoMadd shop L-Plate grip attached. Incidentally, I've been working with Photoshop raw conversion and I've come up with a processing method that keeps the sharpness up without adding a lot of noise. The results aren't what I can get with other cameras and other software, but I'm a lot happier with the files. I'll do a bit of tweaking and if I get something worth sharing I will.
Returning to the lens, I have to say that I am enjoying using it more than I thought. I like Fuji stuff anyway, which explains why even though I'm always moaning about it, I still use it a lot. It is I think, the secret to why people get so enthusiastic about it. Fuji's sales figure unfortunately illustrate that a lot less people have this enthusiasm than they do for Sony, Panasonic and Olympus mirrorless interchangeable gear and while I have no means of knowing for certain, I suspect that Fuji fans have a much higher % of enthusiast and serious hobbyist photographers than the other brands I mentioned. In fact I'd be very surprised if those plus professional, semi-professionals and aspiring professionals didn't make up the bulk of Fuji's customers. In the light of the amount of noise that Fuji enthusiasts make on the photographic internet compared to the numbers of cameras sold, that would probably seem to be the case.
I wouldn't even speculate as to whether Fujifilm want this to continue. I doubt it. However they must know that with what they offer and what they have got planned, isn't really going to suddenly create mass demand for their stuff. Plus, while some may crossover, I doubt they will get serious numbers of Nikon and Canon equipped pro's to suddenly end up with Fuji. Plus even if they did, there are far less of them than your average punter.
And maybe that's why we all love this stuff so much. Maybe it's the fact that we are in the minority. Certainly I don't think I've ever seen another person using Fuji gear on my travels, so as a system it does have a certain 'exclusivity.' And Leica looks at non-Leica prices has an appeal that can't be ignored. I'm not immune to that and I suspect a lot of others aren't either. And lenses like the Fuji XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR Fujinon zoom lens will keep 'punching our buttons' as will upcoming treats like the 90mm f/2, which I have to say I'd buy tomorrow if it was available.
No matter how much I whinge about battery life and over soft processing, there is no doubt that for me, Fuji is a 'class act'. They copy the best, so that's really not surprising. And in these days of cameras that are either huge or miniscule (a bit like the population in general then!) their old school / retro 'this is what a camera and lens should look and feel like' philosophy is refreshing. The stuff looks great, handles great and without exception is a pleasure to use for me. I haven't yet picked up a Fuji X camera I didn't like and I don't think I can say that about any other brand apart from Leica. I don't really care that Fuji, if they carry on like they are currently, will never go mass market, though the people who run the company (and the shareholders) might have other ideas about that! For me, there is nothing wrong with the fact that these are relatively rare cameras and lenses that many won't even know exist. Not maybe the best scenario if you run the camera division at Fuji, but then they aren't stupid, they must know that this is the case. But if they don't become Sony and keep going on this path, then I for one will be perfectly happy. For me the Fuji XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR Fujinon zoom lens is a logical step in this direction and when Fuji get something right, as I very much believe they have with this lens, I'm happy to write in positive terms. So plenty of Yin today. (Or is it Yang?)